The Cadet Health Check 2020 report provides the Chief of Defence People with independent observations on the overall health of the cadets force and their ability to deliver MOD-endorsed outcomes, as well as any risks to their future wellbeing.
This is the 5th annual report the Council of RFCAs has produced, although the pandemic has hindered their ability to gather evidence and observe. They have been unable to focus their report on the recruitment and retention of adult volunteers as intended. Instead, the Cadet Health Check team provided observations on areas of best practice and areas of concern. The observations in the report include:
- The resilience and determination of CFAVs to deliver, enabling virtual activity in the COVID 19 environment.
- There will need to be a period of stabilisation and consolidation undertaken by all the Cadet Forces.
- There is a risk individuals will not re-engage, even when the opportunity returns to do so.
- Cadet Forces will take time to recover from the pandemic, both in terms of activity and Cadet and Adult Volunteer experience and numbers.
- There is a concern that schools might not see their CCF as a priority during their recovery from Covid-19 closures.
- The loss of HMS BRISTOL, with no viable alternative accommodation or experience.
- The implementation of the MOD Cadet Forces Safeguarding Framework is a significant development which provides an overarching approach to safeguarding children in the Cadet Forces.
- The report suggests an expansion of data collection and publication to include all groups with protected characteristics including those suffering from social disadvantage, in support of the development of the Cadet experience.
- The imminent publication of the final report of the University of Northampton study into the social impact of the Cadet Forces might lead to pressure for further expansion.
Each of the 13 RFCAs’ staff and their volunteer members are committed to providing the best places to train for cadets, raising awareness of the benefits of the cadet forces in their communities, and providing administration of the Army Cadet Forces to the highest standards.
The Cadet Health Check team aims to deliver its next report to the Chief of Defence People in December 2021. Their focus will be on the support to adult volunteers and the recovery of the cadet forces post-pandemic.